The last three decades the world has focused more on global warming and the dangers of global warming on the environment and humanity. Many climate tops were held and a number of agreements were reached. The most countries agreed that CO2-emission has to be reduced and alternatives of fossil fuels have to be found. During the last decades many sustainable energy technologies were developed. Research centres and universities are trying to develop new sustainable energies resources and to optimize current energy technologies.
The most used sustainable energy is solar energy and wind energy. Furthermore the use of biofuels is increasing because of inventing of techniques which are able to convert biomass into fuels that can generate energy. The most familiar biofuels are bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas. Nowadays biofuels are classified in four different generations. The different generations refer to the used feedstocks of the biofuels.
The first generation of biofuels are produced from biomass feedstocks that can be used as food or waste like pure oil, sugar, starch or the waste of the frying oil. Types of biofuel of the first generation are bioethanol, pure vegetable oil, biodiesel and biogas. Fermentation and transesterification are used as conversation processes during the production of the first generation biofuels.
The second generation of biofuels are produced from biomass feedstocks that are not usable as food like lignocellulosic material. The types of biofuel of the second generation are bioethanol, synthetic biofuels and biogas.
Fermentation and gasification and fast-pyrolysis are used as conversation processes during the production of the second generation biofuels. The third generation is an enhancing of the second generation. In the third generation the focus is on the lignocellulosic material that results the highest conversation of biofuels like algae. The fourth generation is meant to produce biofuels and capture the CO2 emission.
In the fourth generation the CO2 emission will be captured and stored to use it as a feedstock to plants that are meant to be used for the producing of biofuels. Biofuels have environmental benefits, waste management benefits, storing benefits and economic benefits.
Biodiesel is a biofuel that belongs to the first generation biofuels. The feedstocks of biodiesel are pure vegetable oil, animal oil, animal fats and waste oil. Biodiesel is obtained from the animal and vegetable oil by a conversion process called transesterification. In order to perform an optimized transesterification process and to meet the requirements of the regulations many contaminants have to be removed like plastics, gums and Free fatty acid (FFA). As separation step filtration can be used to remove a lot of these impurities. Filtration can be used in several steps during the biodiesel production process. The use of filtration depends on the used feedstock. The use of filtration during biodiesel production can be divided in two steps the pre-treatment of the crude oil and the purifying of the crude biodiesel. Filtration can be used in general for:
- removal of polyethylene and other plastics from the animal oil
- removal of sterols
- removal of glucosides
- pre-treatment to make the oil clean enough for the conversion of oil into biodiesel
- bleaching of the animal oil
- removal of sulphur from the animal oil
- removal of proteins from the animal oil
- removal of absorbents like silica
- removal of phosphorus
- removal of mono-glyceride
- removal of strains
- removal of waxes and gums
- washing, drying and purification of the end products biodiesel and glycerine =
- removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
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